We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Phrenology?

Niki Acker
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Phrenology is a theory, popularized in the early 19th century, that links the shape and measurement of the skull to personality traits. Phrenology was met with skepticism even in its early days and is now considered a pseudoscience, developed through improper application of the scientific method. However, modern day scientists recognize phrenology as a precursor to more widely accepted theories about the brain.

Phrenology was the first major theory to recognize the importance of the brain and to postulate that different areas of the brain regulate different functions. Similar ideas were discussed as early as the classical era, for example in the writings of Aristotle, but Franz Joseph Gall, the founder of phrenology, was the first to use measurements of the head in order to predict personality traits. Gall, who called his theory craniology, divided the brain into 27 different areas, each with a specific function, such as affection, pride, religious feeling, poetical skill, and the tendency to murder. In the first half of the 19th century, phrenology's heyday, the theory was used to predict children's future and to screen job applicants, much as personality tests are sometimes used today.

In order to conduct a phrenological analysis, the scientist would measure the patient's head with a caliper, then feel the surface for raised and depressed areas. Raised areas were thought to indicate that the part of the brain located beneath that spot was well developed, while depressed areas indicated the opposite. Unfortunately, phrenology was sometimes used to promote racism, notably by the Nazis.

While phrenology has been superseded by neuroscience, psychology, and other modern scientific work on the brain, it is still well known and often referenced in popular culture, usually in a joking context. Many people are familiar with the look of a phrenology chart, which typically shows a head in profile with outlined areas denoting certain aspects of personality. The commonly heard phrase, "You ought to get your head examined," is actually a reference to phrenology, not to psychology, as is often assumed.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.